011321 Wendell Berry


The Wendell Berry Farming Program of Sterling College is accepting applications for the fall.

The tuition-free two-year residential education program based in Henry County is designed to serve students from generational farm families or those with a strong desire to farm. Students who are residents of Kentucky are particularly encouraged to apply.

The program is intended for students in their third and fourth years of college. Graduates earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from Sterling College.

Inspired by the lifework of farmer and writer, Wendell Berry, the curriculum applies Berry’s writing to learning. Courses include subjects like Agroecology, Holistic Livestock Husbandry, U.S. Farm and Food Policy and Small Business Management — all things farmers need to know and that have been exemplified in Berry’s life and writing.

“The distinctive Wendell Berry Farming Program curriculum is designed to help people learn how to live with and from a place by understanding what has happened in and to its countryside,” Dr. Leah Bayens, dean of the program, said. “Our students work side by side with neighbors and learn from and with the good farmers, foresters and rural leaders who make Henry County a worthy classroom. In turn, they’ll become the leaders who shape thriving landscapes and communities by growing healthy food.”

Admission to this program is highly competitive. Applicants must demonstrate a desire to farm and a commitment to working to strengthen rural communities. Interested students don’t need to have previously attended Sterling to be considered and can transfer into the program. While applicants must demonstrate a commitment to sustainable agriculture, they are not required to have studied agriculture in their first two years of college.

Students do not pay tuition for the Wendell Berry Farming Program thanks to grant support from the NoVo Foundation. Students are responsible for the cost of room, board and fees. The revolutionary no-tuition model helps graduates to live and farm in rural communities without the burden of college debt. 

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